As I discussed on Thursday, prepositions are a wonderfully significant part of language, and they are surprisingly fun to teach to young children. Children first develop the comprehension for spatial location (“in,” “on,” “under,” “over”). A tracking panel will delight their senses as they watch the ball move through tubes, pipes, and shoots – now you see it, now you don’t. Incorporating a tracking panel into your outdoor play area allows children to observe and demonstrate directional words—in, out, on, off, here, there, beside, next to and between. They visually track the object as it goes fast, faster and slower. When children use a variety of objects and compare the speed of travel, they learn about physical properties and cause and effect.
Aside from learning about prepositions and spatial relationships, children will also:
- Follow one-step spoken directions without prompts
- Follow two-step spoken directions with prompts
- Use trial and error to solve a simple problem
- Initiate turn taking in play
- Use any descriptive word or gesture to express amount or size
- Participate in a variety of gross/fine motor and sensory activities
- Attempt novel gross/fine motor and sensory activities
- Choose between two activities
- Communicate the size of things relative to self (e.g., compared to size of finger, arms length).
Your outdoor classroom will be all the rage with a tracking panel. Not only will children learn a lot of useful vocabulary, they will have fun watching the ball move through those tubes and shoots!